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Autism Speaks Director, Individual Relations & Philanthropy in New York, New York

Autism Speaks is seeking a Director, Individual Relations & Philanthropy! Ideal candidate will be home based in the Northeast.


The director of major giving is a front-line major gift fundraising position offering the opportunity to deepen and expand Autism Speaks major gift portfolio in a region of the US. Working with the Vice President of Individual & Foundation Relations and other staff and voluntary leadership, lead the full range of major gift efforts required for key markets in this territory. The individuals in this position will bring proven major gift experience and success with the energy and motivation of an entrepreneur to the untapped potential that exists with individuals and families who have the capacity to help Autism Speaks realize its 10-year vision.


Major Gift Lead Generation, Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship:

  • Lead the development and growth of the major gift portfolio for Autism Speaks’

  • Assess challenges and opportunities within the region – focus on building the major gift portfolio for the long-term, while taking advantage of near and mid-term opportunities.

  • Implement proven major gift strategies to:

  • Identify and engage a greater number of new leads.

  • Increase the volume of new, qualified relationships onto the major gift portfolio.

  • Deepen relationships with those in the portfolio who have six, seven and eight-figure capacity.

  • Solicit gifts that support the priority programs of Autism Speaks with an emphasis on high five, six and seven + figure gift conversations.

  • Engage with colleagues and volunteers across the organization who can inform and help major gift lead generation activity for the region.

  • Work with the VP, Individual & Foundation Relations and Autism Speaks leadership to develop and implement thoughtful moves and experiences for the region’s major gift portfolio.

  • Collaborate internally in a strategic, transparent, and thoughtful manner with colleagues across Autism Speaks. In doing so, this position will make important contributions to the collaborative fundraising culture that the organization is striving to build – to raise more dollars across all fundraising teams and maximize our donors’ giving experiences.

  • Actively learn the programs, and priority initiatives of Autism Speaks (as per our strategic plan) and convey this vision and work to donors and prospective donors. Seek to introduce appropriate donors and prospects to leadership, content experts, volunteers and other appropriate team members throughout the relationship cultivation process.

  • Seek to maximize giving capacity in solicitations with a particular emphasis on increased giving where / when appropriate.

  • Have comfort with clear annual goals and weekly, monthly, quarterly measurement of activity toward these goals.

  • Work with and leverage the support of the Fundraising Operations team, including data analytics and prospect research, necessary to grow the region’s portfolio.

  • Demonstrate discipline to prepare thoroughly for all donor visits and conduct pre and post visit briefings with staff / volunteer leadership.

  • Offer input on the development of major gift donor materials and communications for the division overall and the region specifically.

    Fiscal Responsibility:

  • Meet or exceed agreed upon major gift revenue and key activity metric goals (each quarter and year).

  • Accurately forecast revenue from the region’s major gift portfolio on monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.

  • Remain current and have ability to analyze major gift revenue trends in key markets in the region.

    Planning and Management:

  • Create and implement a long-term business plan to strategically grow major gift relationships and revenue in key markets across the region.

  • Identify and utilize key volunteers who can influence and help advance this major gift growth plan.

  • Be an active, collaborative leader in your regional territory to foster an understanding of our major gift work and goals; seek to identify prospective leads internally and externally; transparently share major gift activity, movement, successes, and learnings so that colleagues inside Autism Speaks participate in ways that advance MG prospects, successes and revenue for the organization.

  • Follow our department’s and the Fundraising Operations’ database protocols and expectations to accurately reflect regional portfolio growth, moves, interactions, revenue projections and outcomes.

  • Keep donor electronic records organized and stored in appropriate locations on our teams shared cloud site.

    (The responsibilities listed above are representative and not all inclusive. Other duties may be assigned by supervisor/s. As outlined in your performance goal setting forms, you will be responsible for achieving the goals provided by and agreed upon with your manager.)

    MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS – Education / Professional

  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.

  • 5+ years of specific, dedicated major gift experience in a non-profit, fundraising setting. 10 or more years of professional working experience.

  • Applicable sales experience also a plus.

    MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS – Key Professional Attributes

  • Proven track record closing 6 and 7 figure gifts.

  • Superior interpersonal skills, with the ability to influence donors to support the organization.

  • Ability to show initiative and resourcefulness to meet the needs of the donors.

  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, as well as strong presentation skills.

  • Driver, builder with growth mindset.

  • Ability to monitor budgets and produce reports and other correspondence in a timely fashion.

  • Ability to work independently and manage multiple projects simultaneously.

  • Comprehensive knowledge of development and major gift development / fundraising.

  • Experience working in a mission-driven organization and achieving aggressive fundraising goals.

  • Open and collaborative work style, conducive to engaging external and internal partners.

  • Adept at problem-solving; have good judgment; have integrity in all that they do.

  • Excellent listening skills; ability to match donors to appropriate program, strategic priority. Results-oriented and motivated with an entrepreneurial approach to fundraising.

  • Commitment to and passion for the mission of Autism Speaks.

  • Professional demeanor; demonstrated social skills with individuals as well as with large groups.

  • Ability to travel easily and frequently to key markets across the region.

  • Proficient with Razor’s Edge (or database equivalent) and MS Office, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel.


  • Building Collaborative Relationships

  • Professional Behavior

  • Results Driven

  • Customer Orientation

  • Flexibility

    You are responsible for protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all Autism Speaks data and information to which you have access.

    Autism Speaks is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to fostering a diverse, multicultural, and inclusive workplace. We recruit, evaluate, employ, and promote candidates without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender identity or expression, protected veteran or military status, disability or other legally protected status. Qualified individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for job openings. Reasonable accommodations will be provided. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

    About Autism Speaks:

    At Autism Speaks, our mission is to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of people with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Together with our broad and diverse community, we strive every day to achieve our vision of a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential. This mission and vision drive every member of our staff; our employees are inspired, energized and motivated by the impact we can collectively have on behalf of the autism community.

    Autism Speaks celebrates every success achieved to create a kinder, more inclusive world for people with autism, and we work collaboratively across departments to find solutions that will do the most good for the most people.

    Just as we strive to enhance lives today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow for people on the spectrum, we also aim to enhance the lives of our dedicated employees, through thick and thin.

    Salary & Benefits:

    Autism Speaks offers a competitive compensation, benefit and vacation package. We also provide flex work hours, weekly training sessions, tuition reimbursement and summer bonus Fridays in addition to a creative, innovative, collaborative, inclusive, kind and fun work environment.

    For consideration, please forward your resume and cover letter.

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